Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who began his U.S. education at a city college, told a gathering of community college trustees today in San Francisco that the schools will play a vital role in the nation's economic recovery.
Schwarzenegger spoke at the 40th annual Association of Community College Trustees Leadership Congress at the Hilton hotel in downtown San Francisco.
After being greeted by a standing ovation, Schwarzenegger accepted an award from California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott as “the community college governor.”
“He has been a real friend to the community colleges,” Scott said, noting the governor's signature on a $20 million bill for career technical programs.
Schwarzenegger recalled his enrollment at Santa Monica City College in 1969, a year after he came to the U.S. from Austria.
“I wanted to make millions of dollars and be rich and famous,” he quipped. He signed up for classes in English, business, history and marketing, he said.
“I am so appreciative of the extraordinary education I got at Santa Monica City College,” Schwarzenegger said, adding that his acting and political career were made possible “all because of education.”
Schwarzenegger said community colleges enable families, entrepreneurs and immigrants “like myself” to enter the workforce. The schools provide hope, he said.
The governor noted that schools across the country are now facing a “tremendous challenge” financially. He acknowledged that state funding cuts in California have added to the burden for community colleges.
However, he told the audience, “America always comes back, and will be bigger, stronger and better than ever before.”
Before exiting the stage on his way back to Sacramento for negotiations on upgrading California's water infrastructure, the governor urged the attendees to enjoy themselves while in the Bay Area.
“And spend some money, because we need your revenues,” he said.
– Bay City News